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Loud beeping during certain games (Radeon HD 4850)

Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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July 7, 2008 9:33:52 PM

Hello everyone,

I recently bought a brand new Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 512mb. However, while playing certain games, the computer starts emitting a continuous high-pitched BEEEEEEEEEEEEEP. The afflicted game itself runs fine: nice and smooth without any visual errors, but obviously something is wrong to cause the noise and I would rather not turn a deaf ear to it.

I say "certain games" because so far I have tested Age of Conan, Crysis, X3 and Company of Heroes and the beeping only occurs during Crysis, though there might be other games I haven't tested yet that also produce the problem. When it happens in Crysis, the beeping can be momentarily stopped by quitting to the main menu, but then it starts up again, only permanently stopping when I'm back at the desktop. I thought it might be because Crysis is putting a lot of stress on the card, but Age of Conan also pushes it hard and it never complains. I doubt it's just because it likes big men clad in leather.

I have installed the latest drivers for the card, I have made sure the card is firmly slotted into the motherboard and I have made sure that the PCI-E power cable leading from the PSU into the card is secure. I have tried both the drivers that came with the card (which are just the 8.5 cats anyway) and the latest 8.6 Catalysts from the ATI website.

Here is my system:

Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 512mb GDDR3
ASRock ALIVEXFIRE-ESATA2 Motherboard
AMD Athlon64 X2 5000+
2gb DDR2 RAM 667mhz
550W Corsair PSU

Just for those who don't know off-hand, the minimum power requirements for a 4850 is 450W.

Thanks for reading, I look forward to your suggestions.
July 7, 2008 9:40:15 PM

I think my first concern/step would be to monitor GPU temperatures. Crysis is pretty hard on GPUs for sure (Age of Conan is stressing too I know). But that would be my first troubleshooting step considering you've already checked the hardware issues (PCI-E power, Card seated properly, etc).

For that matter, since it could be unrelated to the GPU, I'd also check CPU temps. Depending on how your case fans are, and GPU (I believe 4850's are all internal fan,ie no vent out rear of case) you could be adding extra heat to the case.

So start with monitoring CPU and GPU temps just to confirm they are both cool enough. I think Crysis eats up a lot of CPU too. Seems like I Read an article somewhere that Crysis runs best @ 3Ghz + on the CPU end (ie no more bottleneck to GPU).
July 7, 2008 9:48:06 PM

I kinda agree with jerreece. Sounds like it may be an audible alarm for temps set up in your BIOS. You could check your BIOS and see if there are temperature thresholds set for GPU and/or CPU temps and if the BIOS is configured to emit beep alarms when those set thresholds are exceeded.
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July 7, 2008 10:15:22 PM

Ah interesting, I hadn't thought about heat issues. Any idea how to measure the core temperature? I tried RivaTuner but I haven't a clue how to set it up, and I tried GPU Caps Viewer but I can't find an option to display system temperatures.

What I ideally need, of course, is something that will tell me how hot everything is running while playing Crysis so that I can compare it to AoC and CoH. Any suggestions?
July 7, 2008 11:21:01 PM

For system temperatures use Coretemp or Speed Fan (my 2 favorites, however there are many programs that will do that).
July 7, 2008 11:28:57 PM

Greenlees said:
Ah interesting, I hadn't thought about heat issues. Any idea how to measure the core temperature? I tried RivaTuner but I haven't a clue how to set it up, and I tried GPU Caps Viewer but I can't find an option to display system temperatures.

What I ideally need, of course, is something that will tell me how hot everything is running while playing Crysis so that I can compare it to AoC and CoH. Any suggestions?

Guide on how to turn on rivatuner on screen display:
http://www.overclock.net/nvidia/194389-how-use-rivatune...
July 8, 2008 9:58:10 AM

Ok I'm having more problems now... I installed Rivatuner, installed the C2D plugin but there is no "hardware monitoring" section where I can activate the plugin. In the customize drop-down menu I only have refresh rates, colour schemes, diagnostic report and reload display driver.

So I then installed Core Temp 0.99 and it says both cores are running at 2 and 6 degrees, making them almost at freezing point. This has to be a mistake surely.

I'll try what Arson94 suggested and check my BIOS. What is an acceptably high temperature for the core when running a game like Crysis? I obviously don't want to remove the beeping if the core is genuinely running at a dangerously high temperature.

Thank you for your patience, as you can tell I've never had to deal with a problem like this before.
July 8, 2008 10:33:06 AM

Ignore that last post, I hit the wrong button. I installed the Catalyst Control Center and the Overdrive section says my card is 75 degrees celcius when IDLE. No wonder it's beeping when running Crysis. I'll try manually increasing the fan speed and see if that helps.
July 8, 2008 11:28:45 AM

Ok here is a conundrum for you lot:

I forced the fan to spin at 75%, leaving the idle temperature at around 45-50 degrees and crysis in-game at around 70 degrees (which is what the card used to idle at without a single complaint). The game still beeps during the Crysis demo, but it appears that it ONLY beeps in certain areas of the level, when one or more of the settings are turned to "high".

In the demo, I was able to play from daybreak overlooking the first Korean camp on "high" settings (i.e probably the most graphically intensive section of the demo) without a single beep. From that section I was able to play for a good 10-15 minutes (with everything on "high") until I went along the coastline and got blown up by a grenade, where it started beeping again until I loaded the game.

I'm wondering if it's a fault with Crysis. I can't understand why the beeping is so specific to one game, and specific to certain areas of the level within that game.
July 8, 2008 1:03:58 PM

Where exactly is the beeping coming from? Is it actually coming from your motherboard speaker?
July 10, 2008 2:55:11 PM

Hello again, sorry for the lack of response but I've had my university graduation to keep me occupied.

The beeping does indeed seem to be coming from the general motherboard area, it's definitely an internal PC speaker noise.

I installed Hmonitor and did some testing. I ran Age of Conan, UT3, Crysis and Company of Heroes in windowed mode so that I could set Hmonitor to always be on top. Every game seemed to have the same CPU temperature of 57 degrees celsius, but Crysis pushed the GPU temperature to 66 at one point and the computer immediately started beeping, while the other games didn't stray above 60 degrees.

I think the culprit has been discovered: a GPU temperature of over 65 while a game is running causes the beeping.

It looks like I'll need a new cooling system for the computer. In the meantime, my only remaining question is: What is the safest fan speed I can set my graphics card to? It's currently on 75, but I'm guessing that if I can make it run at full pelt then it might keep the temperature below 65 when playing games.
July 10, 2008 2:56:02 PM

PS: When I say "75" I mean 75%. I'm not sure why but I can't edit messages.
July 10, 2008 5:43:10 PM

You're safe to set it to 100% if you want. Even at 65 degrees the card is running fine. There's got to be some threshold alarm set in BIOS or in ATI's Catalyst Control Center. Crysis is the only thing you can run that'll make this problem occurr? You could try updating the drivers if they've released any new ones and update the BIOS on your card. The temps are normal for your card, but this beeping is just mind-boggling, I don't know what else it could be.
July 10, 2008 6:47:23 PM

I'd guess its mobo or CPU beaping from the extra graphics heat.
July 10, 2008 7:55:10 PM

It's a BIOS thing making the beep, because it did it when the CCC wasn't installed as well. I had a quick look through for the warning system but I didn't see it.

It should actually be safe to increase the threshold, a quick look on google shows that anything under 100 degrees celsius is acceptable for a 4850, and mine is always under 70 when gaming. I've set the fan to spin at 100%, so now I'll try Crysis again and see if the card can stay under that problematic 65 degree boundary. If so then problem solved :) 

Thanks for the help everyone, you've all provided excellent advice. If I have any further problems I'll resurrect this thread again, but I should be good to go now that I'm pretty sure I've identified the problem.
July 10, 2008 8:47:45 PM

I spoke too soon :(  It is still beeping, and here is a screenshot to show you my stats:



This screenshot was taken the moment the computer started beeping. Notice that the temperatures are all below 60 and are in fact even below the temperatures I get in games that work perfectly fine. I'm completely stumped now:

It's not a power supply problem, as surely this would cause beeping in every game I try to run?
It's not a heat problem, because it still beeps even when everything is well within boundaries.
The beeps are seemingly impossible to track down: it sometimes beeps in KOTOR2 as well, despite that being an old, undemanding game (and yes the temperatures are well down in that too)
I've double checked the hardware: it's all plugged in properly

What else can it be? The only thing I can think of is an incompatibility with my motherboard. Is it a problem if the system memory is DDR2 and the video memory is DDR3? Could it be a faulty video card? Perhaps the rubbish motherboard doesn't work properly with a brand new video card?

Ugh, I almost want to stick two fingers up at PC gaming and stick to consoles. Any further ideas you can throw at me will be much appreciated.
July 10, 2008 8:49:32 PM

Oh, and I checked the BIOS and couldn't find anything about warning beeps. Any ideas which section it would be under, and what this feature would be called?
July 10, 2008 9:08:31 PM

You could always check your motherboard manual for this kind of stuff..
July 11, 2008 2:28:32 AM

look for PC health or something like it in the bios.

the fact that the GPU temp is in yellow looks like it is the cause, but bios wouldn't doo that.

It might be the monitoring software. make sure it is not running in the background and try again.
July 11, 2008 1:55:41 PM

I'm having a look for the manual, I'll try to see what setting is causing the beep and disable it if possible.

With regards to the GPU temperature: it is not the cause of the beeping because, before I set the fan speed to 100%, Age of Conan used to run at 55-60 degrees constantly and the beep never happened. Similarly, when I'm not gaming I set the fan speed to 30% to reduce the noise and the GPU is currently at 65 degrees and no beeping.

This, in my mind, rules out heat as the issue. It is something very specific and very difficult to track down. I get beeps in KOTOR2 sometimes, but when I restart the computer I can then play for an hour without a single problem. It's doing my head in because it does seem to be completely random. Sometimes I can get a whole 15 minutes gameplay out of Crysis before it starts up, other times it starts beeping the moment the first in-engine cutscene starts up.
July 11, 2008 8:49:18 PM

Dude, douse your computer in holy water and set the son of a b!tch on fire. It's possessed and you need to send the spirit back to hell.

I'm out of ideas. Maybe you just need to replace your damn motherboard. Flash the BIOS if there's an updated one and see what happens. Maybe that's the only problem. Let me know.
July 12, 2008 8:45:33 AM

I updated the BIOS and it hasn't fixed it unfortunately. Though it did change one thing: when I used to start the computer up from shut down (i.e not a reboot) the first start up effort would always fail, just showing a flashing _ in the top left corner of the screen right before the Windows XP logo appears. Now it does the same thing, but asks for a valid boot disk instead of a flashing _. However, hitting the reset button then fixes this.

Looks like I need a new motherboard. Will start looking around for a good one now, thanks everyone!
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